By Robert Pavlis
When the public talks about orchids, they are usually talking about the Phalaenopsis moth orchid. It is very popular and available from many retail outlets at reasonable prices. They make an exceptional houseplant that can flower for most of the year.
Orchids have a reputation of being difficult to grow because many people kill their orchids. The reason for this is that they are too nice to their plants. Orchids are easy to grow if you learn to do things right, but they will die if you pamper them.
The biggest single reason for orchid death is overwatering. To prove this point, I tried a simple experiment. I took one of my orchids, removed all the potting media and sat it on my desk for seven weeks, with no water. At the end of the test period, the plant looked a bit dehydrated, but otherwise was quite healthy. How many houseplants can be treated this way and survive? Orchids are tough plants.
Don’t baby your orchid. It is ok not to water them for days on end, just don’t water too much. How much is too much? Stick your finger in the medium, and if it is moist, don’t water. Once it is bone dry, it is time to water.
Repot orchids every two years without fail, and don’t reuse the old media for orchids. Add it to your garden instead.
For more information on growing orchids have a look at this set of videos on YouTube. It will show you how I have been growing them for 20+ years.
Garden Fundamentals on YouTube:
Have a question for Robert – connect on his Facebook Group: Garden Fundamentals